How Did the Harlem Renaissance Impact American Culture?

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The Harlem Renaissance was an artistic and intellectual movement in New York's Harlem neighborhood during the 1920s and 1930s when African-American music, art, philosophy and literature became known and accepted by the world.

Background

  • The Harlem Renaissance began shortly after World War I as writers, artists and intellectuals from the South, the Caribbean and Africa began to migrate to Harlem.

Famous Figures

  • W.E.B. Du Bois, who was head of the NAACP and a prominent African-American spokesperson, was a significant part of the movement, as were the poet Langston Hughes, author Zora Neale Hurston and musician Duke Ellington.

Effect on Civil Rights

  • The Harlem Renaissance resulted in African-American artists gaining the attention of whites and raising awareness by promoting ideas like racial integration and cooperation, which would go on to take effect in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

Effect on Portrayal of African-Americans

  • African-American artists were able to create and disseminate accurate portrayals of their lives and experiences that combated the negative, racist depictions that existed before the movement.

Decline

  • The Harlem Renaissance experienced a decline in 1930s because of the economic turmoil of the Great Depression. However, the work produced continued to influence generations of writers in the decades following.

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